Five foreign traders attacked: ‘Local businesspeople are jealous’

2012-06-19 00:00

A SOMALI businessman who fled from the Free State to Pietermaritzburg to escape persecution by locals found himself hounded aggressively by jealous business rivals in France township at the weekend.

Feysal Yusuf Nuur, the owner of a small tuckshop, was attacked, allegedly by jealous local businesspeople who did not want him operating there. He came to France about a month ago and was attacked three days after he had opened his business.

Nuur’s tuckshop was among five foreign-owned businesses which were attacked on Saturday afternoon by rampaging locals.

The businesses were looted and lost tens of thousands or rands in cigarettes, airtime, cash and damage.

Police spokesperson Joey Jeevan said yesterday seven people were arrested in connection with the attacks and were expected to appear in court in Pietermaritzburg soon.

Nuur said: “I traded fine on Saturday morning, and a large group came in the afternoon and attacked me and my brother. They came in cars and found my brother sitting near the entrance. They surrounded and assaulted him. I fled to the back room and my brother managed to escape. They looted my store and destroyed my goods. There is over R40 000 worth of damage and losses.”

He said the attackers kept saying they did not want foreigners there. “I left Free State because of this. I thought KwaZulu-Natal would be better, then this happens.”

He said the attacks were motivated by jealousy. “The community has welcomed us; it’s just the businesspeople who do not want us here.”

Another businessman who was attacked on Saturday echoed Nuur’s sentiments. “The people here are very nice, they have welcomed us, and it’s just the businesspeople who do not want us here.”

He said that after the attack on his shop he was left with over R20 000 in losses and damages. “They even stole some of my products from the shelves.

“I came here nine months ago and I opened this shop three months ago. I previously lived in the Dambuza area and I have never experienced anything like this. I am worried that they might come back,” he said.

A community member who declined to be named said: “The other people who own tuck shops in this area are jealous; they claim the foreigners are selling their goods cheaply.”


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